After more than six years since the release of “Distant Is The Sun”, Vanishing Point are back with their sixth full-length album “Dead Elysium” (our review here). And – once again – the Australian Prog-Rockers impressed reviewers world-wide with their melodic metal & orchestral arrangements, crowned by Silvio Massaro’s distinctive voice. Hence we pestered… err … provided Silvio with some questions …so find out more about the new guys in the band, the challenges Silvio had to overcome and – pizza:
Why did it take so long, what happened in those 6 years?
Well, there were many factors that had put a hold on getting this album out.
I personally have had some health issues that hospitalised me for quite sometime.. I suffer from Crohn’s disease. Its an on going battle with doctors and hospitals etc… I missed soo much time with regards to writing music. And then..
About 4 years ago we learnt my father was dying slowly due to some health complications… there were many months of difficult times that my family and myself had to deal with until finally he passed.
Then I suffered from a Vocal cord Granuloma which prevented me from singing for almost 14 months. That was very difficult as I needed to retrain my voice and get back the strength that I had prior to becoming ill..
And then almost a year after my father passed away, my mother passed away from cancer.
So as you can see it has been one issue after another, but that hasn’t deterred me from giving up on my fans and music in general.. it is because of the fans that I have persevered and if it wasn’t for the patience of my band mates, it would not have been possible to release this album.
… and why the delay with the physical copies & merch? I thought only mail service in the USA is a total mess 😉 …
I don’t have the information why there was a delay, but I’m pretty sure it will be available by now, I believe. I will look into this for you 😉 but I do know with Covid it has put deliveries behind a lot. (yes, it all is available now, check the band website, the ed.)
Can you please introduce the new guys, bassist Gaston Chin and drummer Damien Hall – how did you find them, did it “click” immediately (with you & guitarists Chris Porcianko & James “Bushy” Maier)? What changed having fresh blood in the band?
YES! GASTON CHIN – BASS and DAMIEN HALL – DRUMS. These new guys I consider our saviours! We definitely clicked from the moment we caught up with these guys. I think when you are opening up your own musical home to new people, you are always weary of what people will be like. Sometimes their musical talents are the second choice, because you always feel that personality in my opinion is sometimes more important. But we are very lucky and very pleased that we got both right with these guys. Not only really cool guys, but it was obvious from the first rehearsal they were very competent musicians.
Comparing all your releases so far, how do you see the development of the band and for yourself as a musician?
Great question, I think every musician would tell you they wished they could redo their first record…this was for us a labour of love and a pursuit for not only becoming better as a musician but becoming better as a band. I think over a number of years of practicing your craft getting better as a musician is a natural progression, but writing music with substance and emotion that takes place with life experiences to leave an impact on what you truly want to portray. So that in itself will always be developing.
Your biggest challenge to complete and release this album (besides current events)?
Apart from my loss of my parents, I think time was my enemy. I needed time to heal, not only emotionally but physically, it was a challenge to build my strength back up. Not being able to sing was a difficult and a very stressful time for me. I was told by doctors I would never be able to sing again… Just having that one thought of not being able to perform live again is something that truly shocks you, especially if that’s the only thing you have ever known to do all your life, and then never to be able to do it again was definitely my biggest challenge to defeat.
Your biggest joy after the release?
I think the biggest joy was to know that our fans still are there for us. We are definitely humbled by this. When you take too long between albums you always wonder if people are still interested you. The distance between releases was not intentional.
Are you happy about the response so far? Did you expect that or was there anything really surprising?
I was pleased with the response. You always wonder what the fans and general music lovers would think of your own music… You can’t please everyone so for me as long as I know what I have created pleases me, then that’s all what truly matters. If people like it, then that is truly a bonus for me.
When writing Dead Elysium, did you even remotely dream (or better: have nightmares) of what is happening now? Would you change any song / lyrics on this album, due to current events?
How crazy is the world at the moment. What is happening now can only be best be described as a nightmare, you are correct. I don’t think we would change anything, what we created in that moment represents what feeling and emotions we experienced at that time.
How do you handle the “Virus Blues”, personally and as a band? Did your rehearsal routine change, for example, or have you all started 10 new bands/solo projects by now?
Well, for us we are still in lockdown so we’re not doing much at the moment. Unfortunately no solo projects or new bands forming … one band is enough for me haha.
The one thing you miss the most from “before”?
I would say greeting my family. I have Italian heritage so we tend to hug and cheek kiss everyone! We can’t do that now. But the one thing I miss the most is dining out, going to my favourite restaurants with my wife etc..
The one thing that should not change, even if there’s a vaccine soon?
The time I am spending with my family.. I needed to do more of this.
Do you see any positive aspect that resulted from the Covid situation?
Hard to see anything positive, but I guess my time at home has been productive. I have been building my strength more and more with my voice. So I think it has prepared me more for when we start touring again.
Any “live-from-home” online show or the like planned, as touring seems still out of question?
There are some ideas going around with the guys about doing some online shows , perhaps when we get out of lockdown we will organise this.
Your hopes and expectations for 2021 (as 2020 seems to suck all the way through)? Or, alternatively, if you had super powers to change one thing to the better, what would it be?
2021 I would love to be touring again, hopefully all things Covid related are gone.
If I had the super power to make the worlds best Wood Fire Oven Pizza, I could cure most of the worlds problems, I believe. I need to perfect this with all this extra time on my hands.
Can Metal save the world?
Oh YES, totally save it!! Not only can it save it but the world could learn a lot from the metal world. Our strength through the power of our music can save you from anything!!
We will be back touring soon, hopefully saving the world some 😉
Silvio Massaro ~ Just a human
photos: Vanishing Point/ photographer Peter Fundeis